Baberton road shut over mysteriously ill couple

A police officer at the scene of the incident. Picture: Toby Williams
A police officer at the scene of the incident. Picture: Toby Williams
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A ROAD was blocked off after emergency services raced to the aid of an elderly couple who fell mysteriously ill.

Police were called to Baberton Mains Drive in Juniper Green by an ambulance crew who arrived to treat the 72 and 73-year-old.

Officers flooded the area, with witnesses reporting half a dozen police vehicles in the street just before 6pm last night.

The couple, who have not been named, are believed to be recovering in hospital, but it is not known what caused the sudden illness.

Emergency vehicles blocked the street – creating tailbacks and forcing Lothian Buses to terminate its number 33 service.

A senior police officer on the scene last night said there had initially been fears for the couple’s lives.

Inspector Andy Gilhooley said: “The initial thought was that they were going to die. At least one of them appeared to be at that stage, but it appears as if they are now starting to recover. They’re definitely through the worst of it.”

But he added investigators had been unable to establish the cause of the couple’s mysterious illness.

“We don’t know what caused the incident,” he said.

“It’s not carbon monoxide poisoning. We don’t know if there are underlying health issues, or what the cause might have been.

“But at this stage, it does not appear to be suspicious.”

Neighbours were taken by surprise as the dramatic scenes unfolded and Lothian Buses was forced to terminate its 33 service at Westburn Avenue after one of its drivers got stuck on the road.

Baberton resident Chris Hunter, 57, said the traffic quickly become gridlocked.

“It was an absolute zoo,” he said.

“This is a busy street, and it was even worse because everyone was stopping to try and peer in the windows of the house. The buses couldn’t make it around the ambulance, and so everyone was just kind of stuck.”

Another resident said she was “heartbroken” to learn of her neighbours’ shock illness.

“It’s absolutely mad,” she said.

“We see them all the time, and I never thought they were very well. It’s heartbreaking.

“Just to be on death’s door all of a sudden, it’s really quite terrifying.”

Police said today the alarm had been raised by a member of the couple’s family who found them both seriously ill when he went to visit them.

He called an ambulance and the ambulance service alerted the police.

The couple were taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. It is understood they both have pre-existing serious health conditions.

A police source said the scale of the police operation was because they did not know what they were dealing with when they received the initial call. A police spokesman stressed there was no criminality involved.